Winter at FortWhyte Alive in Winnipeg, Manitoba
(Update Feb 2021: Although most indoor exhibits are closed due to COVID-19 restrictions, trails are open with plenty of opportunity to appreciate the outdoors. Check the website for current details.)
FortWhyte Alive is a 640-acre nature preserve in southwest Winnipeg committed to environmental educational and promoting understanding of the natural world. It is a place to get outside and experience nature. I’ve written about summer at FortWhyte Alive in Alive with Flora, Fauna and Fun. Winter offers an entirely different experience.
There are seven kilometres of forest trails for cross-country skiing, Nordic walking, snowshoeing or, as in my case, just plain walking.
The sod house was empty this day. Even without the stove on, the house was warmer than outside. It was a particularly warm day and I did not need to linger long to warm up. On Sunday afternoons, “pioneers” are in the house providing a glimpse into the past. Special events sometimes occur at the sod house, such as learning to make craft honey ale.
Snowshoes are available for rent. There were a couple of school groups learning to snowshoe. I overheard one boy, about ten years of age, proudly proclaim he only fell twice.
There are also opportunities to ice fish. Guided walks are scheduled on Sunday afternoons. The Nordic Walk group and the Snowshoe Club meet regularly. Special events include cross-country ski lessons, a scavenger hunt, snowball target practice, and a fat bike race.
And if you need to warm up, there is an indoor interpretative centre with an aquarium of local freshwater fish, a prairie dog and burrowing owl exhibit, and a museum of mounted wildlife. There is also a restaurant.
When winter temperatures become bitter, I tend to cocoon inside my home. But there are also less bitter winter days when it is good to get outside, have some fun and enjoy winter’s beauty.
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